Saturday, December 4, 2010

Restrepo, or How I learned to Love War

I'm going to be giving you spoilers here. So if you haven't seen Restrepo, you might not want to read on. But if you have no intention of seeing it, or have seen it, or are sick of war movies, then this is for you.

First off, Restrepo is the name of a soldier who was killed in action. He was with the platoon of U.S soldiers chronicled in the film, Restrepo. As a reaction to his death, which devastated his comrades, they set up an outpost and named it after him, O.P. (outpost) Restrepo. Now I have complete respect for the men of this platoon and Sgt. Restrepo, in terms of their service to their country. But the problem is that their service is in vain and effectively useless.

Sgt. Restrepo's death, while being quite dramatic material for a film, was in vain. This is not to diminish his worthiness as an individual, a serviceman, comrade, and friend to the other men of his platoon. But therein lies the rub. Right wing warmongers exploit men like these and their plight (which they impose on them to begin with). This film is overflowing with camaraderie, buddy love, friendship, honor, glory, patriotism and all those heartwarming, good feelings we're supposed to have about our country. There is no better subtle propaganda tool than a film like Restrepo to prop up this useless futile extravagant waste of a war. We feel for these soldiers and what they have to go through. But why the fuck do they have to go through it in the first place? That question is never asked.

Now I am not faulting the filmmakers. I have plenty of respect for them and their bravery in risking their lives to make this film. After all, if they hadn't done so, I wouldn't be able to rant about it, and it is questionable that the film is a propaganda tool of the right. It only works that way if you're a fucking moron, like people who believe what they hear on Fox News, or don't have any mental capacity to read between the lines. Pretty much, that would include all the brain-dead right wing and other warmongers. The filmmakers have exposed a piece of this war not seen before in the right wing owned and operated biased media.

So perhaps the left (and people like me) can exploit this film as well. In that respect, it is quite an awesome film. The film actually covers the bombing of a civilian neighborhood, and we actually see wounded children. But that hardly exposes the real tragedy of the many thousands of civilian deaths and injuries that are neatly cleaned from any and every media account of the war. The filmmakers have a good cop out for this. They were covering the troops and what the troops go through, bleeding heart conservatives who sign up for war and then can't deal with it when they get shot or their buddy is killed. What did they think war was?

To balance out the reality of what war is, if you see Restrepo, you should also see the HBO documentary produced by James Gandolfini, Wartorn, a film about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress - a nice name for being fucked for life up after seeing your buddy's head get blown off, or after watching a three year old take a hit of automatic weapons fire).

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